By Alexandria San Juan
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has directed Buenasher Transport Corporation to immediately suspend its operations after one of its buses figured in a fatal road crash along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Friday night that killed at least eight passengers and injured 18 others including minors.
“The LTFRB directed the operator [of Buenasher Transport] to immediately suspend operation pending investigation,” LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said.
According to Delgra, they will also issue a preventive suspension order (PSO) to the franchise of the bus firm involving 19 units plying the route of Santa Maria-NLEX-Cubao via EDSA.
“We have sent people to investigate the road crash. The insurance company is also directed to get their people on the ground to initiate processing of insurance benefits of victims,” the LTFRB chief said.
Meanwhile, officials of the Buenasher Transport are now reaching out to the victims involved in the crash to assist them in their needs.
Buenasher Transport operations manager Robert Viarzon also urged other victims to contact their office for assistance or reimbursement as some of them were brought by concerned citizens to other hospitals and were not identified in the police report.
“Ginagawa po namin lahat ng makakaya namin. Lahat naman po ng passengers ay insured,” he said in a phone interview.
Viarzon said the unit involved, which was registered as a city bus, bearing plate number AGA 8610 was carrying 32 passengers when the incident happened, but only 18 were identified during police investigation.
“Hindi po namin inaasahan ito. Ngayon lang po nangyari sa amin ito. Todo ingat nga po kami dahil alam po namin na kung sakali pong magkaroon ng problema, ay ayaw po namin. Kaya po lagi namin pinagseseminar sa LTFRB ang aming mga empleyado,” he explained.
In a report from Valenzuela Police Station, the Cubao-bound bus driven by Victorio Delos Reyes, 39, was traversing the southbound lane on NLEX and was tailing an Isuzu Crosswind with plate number ZGG 985 driven by Marvin Giron, 32, past 7 p.m., Friday.
Upon reaching near One Mall at Gen. T. De Leon in Valenzuela City, Giron allegedly slowed down due to heavy rains causing the bus behind him to hit the rear portion of his vehicle.
This prompted the bus driver to immediately veer to the left side of the road where it hit a concrete barrier. Due to the impact, the bus turned on its side and spun, throwing off some of the passengers on the road.
The AUV, meanwhile, was pushed forward and landed on the creek that injured a seven-year-old boy passenger.
Police said eight passengers of the bus died on the spot, some of who were identified as Leo Victorino, Jennifer Fernandez, Joan Garcia, Mary Grace Alvarez, Maria Mariano, and Zeus Lapig.
Two other fatalities who are still unidentified were brought to Rogaciano M. Mercado Memorial Hospital in Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
Ten other passengers of the bus and its driver sustained physical injuries and were rushed to different hospitals for treatment.